The Sisters: Book summary and reviews of The Sisters by Nancy Jensen

The Sisters

A Novel

by Nancy Jensen

The Sisters
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • Published in USA  Oct 2012
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

Growing up in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, with their mother dead and their stepfather an ever-present threat, Bertie Fisher and her older sister Mabel have no one but each other - with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings. But on the day that Bertie receives her eighth-grade diploma, good intentions go terribly wrong, setting off a chain of misunderstandings that will send the sisters on separate paths and reverberate through their daughters' and granddaughters' lives.

What happens when nothing turns out as you planned?  From the Depression through World War II and Vietnam, and smaller events both tragic and joyful. Bertie and Mabel forge unexpected identities and raise daughters - and sisters - of their own, learning that love and betrayal are even more complicated than they seem. 

Gorgeously written, with extraordinary insight and emotional truth, Nancy Jensen's debut novel spans the 20th century, illuminates the far-reaching power of family and family secrets.

First published in hardcover in November 2011.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Encompassing the lives of women in the 20th century, this sprawling saga is tender and satisfying, with a heartbreaking end." - Kirkus Reviews

"I've rarely seen a novel that moves through a number of characters in such a sure-footed and always rewarding way. I really could not put it down. Nancy Jensen has the natural story-teller's ability to command attention, but with sophisticated psychological understanding and beautifully crafted writing. The Sisters is a needed novel that will become a very popular classic." - Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Adam & Eve and Ahab's Wife

"Readers will be both provoked and moved by this story of two sisters whose lives are lived apart yet, in the end, always tied by the bonds of blood and love." - Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI

"First-time novelist Jensen redeems her soap opera plot... with an observant eye, adept characterization, and a keen grasp of social issues." - Publishers Weekly

The information about The Sisters shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Carol G. (Little Egg Harbor, NJ)

The Sisters
A very complex and moving novel that led me to reflect on my own family and my own life and how my life was shaped by those decisions. The reader is drawn into this story deeper and deeper, when nothing turns out as planned for the sisters, stemming from the first misunderstanding!

This extraordinary novel of two sisters and their families spanning over eighty years is one not to be missed and would be a wonderful discussion book for my book club.

This book will stay in your thoughts long after yo have read the last page. I look forward to reading future novels from Nancy Jensen.

Diane W. (Lake Villa, IL)

The Sisters
First books, I believe, are often an author's best as they seem to be the culmination of many years of thought, reflection, and craft. This book did not disappoint me in that opinion: complex and varied characters; sound writing of a tale of family dynamics, secrets; paths taken vs. not taken; decisions made and the consequences that follow. Would definitely be a good choice for complex discussions and strong opinions in a women's book club or group. Recommended!

Mary M. (Lexington, KY)

Touching Story
I really enjoyed this book. I waited a few days after finishing it to write this because I wanted to see if I felt the same way after some time had passed. I can say that the characters and their stories are going to stay with me for some time. It is a very well written book. I would recommend it to book clubs. There are many issues that could be discussed. It is interesting to see how the lives of the sisters and their children change over 80 years. This is a wonderful book.

Carm D. (Omaha, NE)

The Sisters by Nancy Jensen
This was an excellent and interesting story about how one miscommunication can affect the lives of so many generations. I found it compelling and could hardly put it down. The characters were well developed and I especially liked Alma and her courage. I recommend this highly.

Jean T. (Paducah, KY)

The Sisters
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author conveyed a deep sensitivity and connection with the emotional threads that bound and separated the members of this family. I hated having to put the book down and at the close of each chapter looked forward to rejoining that character when next we met. I think this will be an excellent choice for book clubs, generating significant discussion.

Cheryl K. (East Aurora, NY)

The Sisters: A Life Lesson
I was enthralled with this novel from the first chapter, mainly because I identified so closely with the women and their history. The characters were real; their actions, interaction and secrets held my attention throughout. I did find it a bit confusing to keep track of the entire Fischer family, and frequently referred to the family tree in the front of the book. The outcome may not be what I would have hoped for, but it fit the story perfectly. What a wonderful book for book clubs to read and discuss. I have already recommended it to others.

...17 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

Nancy Jensen is a graduate of the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College. Her short stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Northwest Review, Other Voices, Under the Sun, and The Louisville Review. She lives in Kentucky, where she was awarded an Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and an Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council. The Sisters is her first novel. You can visit her website at www.nancyjensen.org.

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